Relax Or You Will Be Fired

Tyler Durden's picture

It's not just Bank of America that is 'worried' about the health of its junior employees. As Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports, Americans eat at their desks, work longer days, and retire later than their counterparts in most other parts of the world (especially France). But, while the likes of Oprah offer holistic solutions to harness yopur stress, and bosses insist that you take your weekends off (or else), the workload itself is not reduced. Do not fear though as Senator Glenn Grotham is pressing to undo a "goofy" law requiring employers to give workers a day off - "all sorts of people want to work 7 days-a-week," he noted... indeed they do Senator.


As we noted yesterday, Bloomberg Businessweek reports,

Whoa! Hold on there, young banker. Your boss wants you to kick back and stop working so hard. That’s the message from Bank of America (BAC), which just issued a memo advising its analysts and associates to “take a minimum of four weekend days off per month.” (Senior executives presumably know what’s good for them and are welcome to work around the clock.)

This growing pressure to relax isn’t limited to junior bankers trying to get ahead.

In fact, a major source of stress on U.S. workers right now is the onslaught of data about the costs of being so stressed and sleep-deprived. You’re more likely to crash your car, drink too much, blow up in a meeting, divorce your spouse, and fall prey to everything from a cold to a heart attack. Just being around a stressed person, so-called secondhand stress, can leave you feeling more stressed. For most Americans the main source of that stress isn’t their finances or love life or lousy neighbors. It’s their job. More specifically, it’s the workload from their job. (The kind of workload that prompts a Bank of America associate to, say, work over the weekend.)

The challenge is finding a fix that fits into a busy schedule.

While TV pundits love to cast the U.S. as a nation of takers, the reality is that Americans are a pretty hardworking bunch.


They used only 10 of their 14 vacation days in 2013, according to Expedia (EXPE). French workers, in contrast, received and used all 30 of their days. (To be sure, Americans beat the French when it comes to actually working, with unemployment standing at 6.7 percent and 10.9 percent, respectively.) Americans eat at their desks, work longer days, and retire later than their counterparts in most other parts of the world, which might also explain why they’re acknowledged masters in the realm of fast food.


Thus comes the slew of U.S.-style solutions, from Oprah Winfrey’s online Meditation Master Trilogy to Arianna Huffington’s Third Metric tour aimed at tackling “sleep deprivation, burnout, and driving ourselves into the ground.” Harvard Business Review has a guide that promises to “harness stress so that it spurs your productivity.”


There are meditation goggles, Ambien, sleep coaches, and power naps. And, of course, there are the missives that remind eager workers to go home on weekends.

That may prove to be a hard sell if you belong to a generation that’s experienced 70 consecutive months of double-digit unemployment, often with daunting college debts to pay off.

If so, take comfort in knowing elders like State Senator Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.) are on your side.


He’s fighting to undo a “goofy” state law that requires employers to give workers a day off, saying “all sorts of people want to work seven days a week.” You betcha


If the boss insists you take more weekends off without reducing the workload that got you there in the first place, that’s OK.


The minute you hit midnight on Sunday, the workweek can start again.

So the message is clear - Relax! or you're fired... and make sure all your work is done... or you're fired!

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Dollar Bill Hiccup's picture

Oh the hell with it.



Sudden Debt's picture



SoilMyselfRotten's picture

"Lots of people like working 7 days a week"

But as for me and the rest of the Senate, 3 works swimmingly

max2205's picture

Noboby works harder or longer hours than Congress.....right?

in4mayshun's picture

Yes- if nailing interns is considered part of the work week.

Offthebeach's picture

You think it was easy being Ted Kennedy, Chris Fradd, Bwarny Fwank?

They gave everything, and, if you use blue light you can still see the spunk stains.( must've taken decades off their lives. )

Oh Ted, were are you now that the Senate needs, the nation needs, nay the world!

SafelyGraze's picture

fired? because one's name begins with 'S'?

I feel a little bit singled out

maybe I could polish your boots, sir?


BorisTheBlade's picture

The layoffs will continue until morale improves.

BuddyEffed's picture

More time off will allow you more opportunity to sit in centrally planned traffic jams.

ElvisDog's picture

Second-hand stress? Now I really have heard everything......

Nobody For President's picture

I don't get stressed - I'm a carrier.

NoWayJose's picture

Stock prices have gone up for a reason - and that reason is overworking your best people so that you either don't have to hire more workers, or you can let workers go. Does great things for the P/E to get 70 hours of work out of each employee, while paying them for 40.

Skateboarder's picture

I've written this story once before - might as well share it again for those who didn't see it, newer readers, etc. Once upon an '08 crash, I was passing through NY City for a night. My I-Banker cousin who was a junior analyst for Goldman at the time (boy, these poor fuckers get the biggest dildoes) was staying on Wall St., right across from DoucheBank. Five minute walk to work for him. It was my first time in Manhattan too. Conflicted emotions + claustrophobia from endless skyscraper was my general state of mind. I got in around 9pm, took an expensive cab ride to the front of the Goldman building, and made my call. A few minutes later my cuz showed up. We hugged and chatted on the way to his apartment. I dropped off my stuff and walked out with him, because he didn't have time to kick it. Nope, gotta go back to work man,. That's how it goes.

So off I went exploring Manhattan - took the train and saw midtown and uptown in the night, Times Square (a homeless man was rambling some crazy shit, asking what year it was), all that fun stuff. Even ate some of that famous New York cheesecake at ten bucks a slice.

Back to the apartment at 1am. Cousin's surely gotta be back by now.. Nope. I went back to reading my book (I think it was a Crichton book). 2am... 3am... 4am... 4:30am. He finally shows up! At the end of every night, he eats his cup of yogurt, gives a round of sarc applause to himself (because his life is so great being run into the ground working 17-20hrs a day), and passes out for a couple of hours. Next thing I know, it's 9am and he's gotta go back to work!

"Can we meet up for lunch?"
*look of disappointment and resignation in his face*
"Sorry man..." :(

So I took the ferry to Staten and saw the statue of bigBroSurveillance, took the ferry back, called him up to pick up my shit from his apartment and said bye. He went back to work.

Oh yeah, he was fired a year later by the way, after they juiced the shit out of him.

p.s. don't hate on Skateboarder's cuz. He's a good guy, just like all you good guys in banking/finanace who did your time on Balls St.

Son of Loki's picture

"I'm sure my employees don't mind re-arranging their desks and schedule so they can accomplish 7 days of work into 3....then they have the other days off. They appreciate just having a job that pays the generous $10/hour."


Biff Throckmorton III, CEO

Thousand Widgets Per Minute, Inc.

Ribeye's picture

poor France, lol:)

what was the name of that tyre fella again?

i like him...

Analyse2's picture


Maurice Taylor:  "You call me an extremist, but most businessmen would agree that I must be nuts to have the idea to spend millions of US dollars to buy a tyre factory in France paying some of the highest wages in the world."

Just a little flaw: Titan, is 20 times smaller than French tyre producer Michelin … and 35 times less profitable.… and 4,200 American companies have operations in France that employ 500,000 people ...



Analyse2's picture

And as France is mentioned:

In 2012 France exported 567 Md $ to compare with the US 1564 Md $ (Source Wikipedia)

Even if it is less than Germany (1460 Md $), it is more than UK (475 Md $)  

And proportionally to the population (65 million versus 312 million) it is a far better ratio than the US, where is the flaw ?


Marco's picture

The flaw? Their workers should earn less so the Americans have to pay less for their imports of course.

Analyse2's picture


Maybe ;-).

But there probleme is probably elsewhere.

To complete the picture:

The French are justifiably proud of their social model. Health care and pensions are good, many French retire at 60 or younger, five or six weeks of vacation every summer is the norm, and workers with full-time jobs have a 35-hour week (less and less true) and significant protections against layoffs and firings.

But when the French work, they work hard; labor productivity, perhaps the single most important indicator of an economy’s potential, is high (rank: 7)

Large French companies compete globally; there are more French companies in the Fortune 500 than any other European country after UK.

The country retains plenty of strengths. France is the world’s fifth-largest economy, with strong traditions in management, science and innovation. The gap between rich and poor is narrower in France than in most Western countries, although it is growing.

There is nonetheless an underlying understanding that there will be little lasting gain without structural changes to the state-heavy French economy. The warning signs are everywhere: French unemployment and youth unemployment are at record levels; government spending represents nearly 57 percent of gross domestic product, the highest in the euro zone, and is 11 percentage points higher than Germany. The government employs 90 civil servants per 1,000 residents, compared with 50 in Germany.

Here is the main problem.


TBT or not TBT's picture

And then there are the demographics. Only big country in Europe near replacement level, but the composition of the births and deaths means France will be ever less French. Museum city centers ringed by Arab filled tower blocks, with a satellite dish on every balcony trained at psycho tv, does not bode well.

Rafferty's picture

My son works as a chemical engineer for a company here in Ireland.  Although only 30 he gets 48 days holiday a year including bank holidays.  The company seems to do fine....

lolmao500's picture

Putin kicks Obama's ass once again...

Russia throwing Iran lifeline: Negotiating big oil-for-goods deal

Iran and Russia are negotiating an oil-for-goods swap worth $1.5 billion a month that would let Iran lift oil exports substantially, in defiance of Western sanctions that helped force Tehran to agree a preliminary deal to end its nuclear program.

Russian and Iranian sources close to the barter negotiations said final details were in discussion for a deal that would see Moscow buy up to 500,000 barrels a day of Iranian oil in exchange for Russian equipment and goods.

Jack Burton's picture

Russia has much to gain by cultivating and form of trade that makes an end run around the Dollar System. A deal like this does that. In the Dollar System, the USA draws strength and financial gain from every trade or transaction carried out in the world reserve currency, the dollar.

I think it is hard to overestimate the power that owning and being able to print the earth's one and only reserve currency gives the USA. NATO attitude towards the Russia Federation is openly hostile. In this case, it seems reasonable Putin would seek to aid Iran, and move one step more away from America's global financial system.

America hates Putin because is a smart and stong leader. They loved Yeltsin who was a fool, a drunkard and a bribed traitor to Russia. Yeltsin was bribed by the west to give away the state assets of the USSR to a certain group of people, we know who those people are.

Along comes Putin and retores Russia's control over it's own economy. This did not go over well inside the Washington Beltway, that group thought they could keep rolling Russia, even Putin let himself be rolled a number of times, but now he knows the game the west is playing and he is fighting back. Taking in Snowden, and now working to aid Iran.

Muppet Pimp's picture

Once the Nuclear deal gets signed Iran may get access to dollars for oil.  Dollar beats Russian made good barter (Paper Rock Scissors style bitchez...) any day of the week.  Iran would love to get a hold of some dollars and the US wants a nuke deal and oil. It has to happen eventually, no?

Marco's picture

Why would they want dollars? They have oil, they don't need to trade with the US ... and holding Euros and Gold as foreign reserves doesn't work that much worse than dollars. They might partipate in the petro-dollar system as protection money (ie. bonds or bombs, their choice) but they certainly don't need dollars.

Rafferty's picture

Russia could crash the dollar any time it wanst by repatriating its vast dollar holdings.

Tim_'s picture

LePage revisits child-labor laws

"GOP policymakers in a few states raised the prospect of rolling back laws that prevent children from entering the workforce, and among others, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) argued that federal child-labor laws are unconstitutional."

"But no one seemed quite as enthusiastic about undoing child-labor laws as Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R), who championed a measure in March 2011 that would not only allow kids as young as 12 to get jobs, but would also allow employers to pay children less than the minimum wage."

Muppet Pimp's picture

LOL quoting MSNBC as a source.

WillyGroper's picture

I believe Newt suggested the same thing for chronically hungry school children.

Cleaning toilets if memory serves.

And coming from an elected teacher of history no less.

Fíréan's picture

When we were young those who were chronically hungry were told to lick the bowl clean  .  .  .

oh, sorry wrong bowl. You were saying ?

Tim_'s picture

The Solution to Poverty: Kids Cleaning Toilets?

"At a campaign stop in Iowa Thursday, former speaker Newt Gingrich, making an argument against century-old child labor laws, said: 'Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works ... [s]o they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of 'I do this and you give me cash,' unless it's illegal.'"

Newt: Fire the janitors, hire kids to clean schools

"'You say to somebody, you shouldn't go to work before you're what, 14, 16 years of age, fine. You're totally poor. You're in a school that is failing with a teacher that is failing. I've tried for years to have a very simple model,' he said. 'Most of these schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school. The kids would actually do work, they would have cash, they would have pride in the schools, they'd begin the process of rising.'"

Offthebeach's picture

Cleaning toilets.
I do it.
The Horror.
Nurses do civilizations it.
Marines do it.
Space lab astronauts do it.

God forbid some 8th generation wefare moppet join civilization.

StychoKiller's picture

Hmm, just what the unemployed need, moar competition for lousy minimum wage jobs!

cowdiddly's picture

And since you senators only seem to want to show up about 180 days a year while the country goes down in flames, lets start the 7 day week with you dear senator.

On second thought, take some more time off, you guys have done enough.

TBT or not TBT's picture

Adopt the constitution of Texas, where the legislature meets only every other year, for a limited session, and the legislators arent paid a living wage for their contributions.

Wilcox1's picture

Yeah, its obvious the workload is too high.  Seems like anything larger than a mainstreet business is trying to make do with nobody.  two bank tellers at lunchtime on Friday, unbelieveable waits to talk to CSR after navigating the automated phone system.

reader2010's picture

since ancient Greek republics,  "work" has been a four-letter-word,  reserved exclusively for slaves. can anyone from the so-called leisure class elaborate? 

Fix It Again Timmy's picture

Our representatives and senators when they do arrive in the office on TUESDAY, they spend their MOST of their working hours making arrangements to leave on THURSDAY.  What time is left, is spent PASSING bills WRITTEN and GIVEN to them by LOBBYISTS.  It, indeed, is a hard life.....

KickIce's picture

He claims as the lazy bastard heads home on recess at taxpayer expense.

Why don't they suggest a paid recess for us?

no life's picture

I guess they don't realize a simple fact, that as you work the additional hours, you eventually hit a point of diminishing returns to a factor.

tarsubil's picture

Just quit porn, man. You'll have a ton more time on your hands.

IridiumRebel's picture

Today is my last day at my overworked job. I do about 50-60 hours a week depending. It's too much. I'm switching careers, again. I'm highly employable, though, so I do a good job when working. My job worked out to be about 10 bucks an hour when all said and done. I'm working lightly and becoming an educator. I have some great connections so I just have to tie some stuff up. Why would I want to work like a dog and then see folks come in to my auto underwriting job for a subprime lender with SSI Checks sitting at home making what I make? I was stressed, never saw my family and had no time for my music. Life is too short. I'm learning how to garden and plan on learning how to refurb antique furniture for sale on craigslist. This is my little way to repudiate the system.

Tinky's picture

Soumds like a very smart and healthy transition. Well done.

This is exactly the kind of step that, when taken en masse, has the potential to transform societies.

IridiumRebel's picture

First half of my day was helping another worker get vehicles prepped for tax time. Did him a solid. Second half has been reading ZH. I look forward to playing the drums with my daughter tomorrow and making bread for the wife. She's making the financial bread so I play chef for her and have her dinner waiting. She is preggers too so I'll be around for her. Besides having the country be run Into the ground by greedy psychopaths, life is grand! This is why we have savings. The others working around me seem silently forlorn that my egress is hours away! Poor bastards.

shovelhead's picture

Toss some cannabis seeds in with the tomatos.

You'll get a very nice return on your produce.

Son of Loki's picture

Iridium, the key to a lower work load and income is being extremely frugal ... don't buy crap you don't need. That's my plan and stay out of debt no matter how painful at times. [Ok, food, shelter and some essentials (like a Japanese Love Doll) now and then are ok.]

Skateboarder's picture

Cheers, IR - good on you for making the right decision. Sanity has no price. Working >40hrs/wk only makes sense if you're working for something/someone worth fighting for. I was lucky enough to be hired by a most excellent small business. The workload can hit 50-60/wk at times and I earn a much lower wage compared to my mid-to-late 20s peers who work for bigCorp and pull in 80-100k doing repetitive bullshit over and over again. However, the knowledge and experience I gain in HW/SW design is invaluable and I continuously get to do new work with some of the nicest people ever.

I wish you the best in your endeavors my friend.

IridiumRebel's picture

Thank you sir! I enjoyed your post about your cuz. I did NY for 7 years before moving here to Ohio. It's calm, Light commute, wide open spaces and friendly folks. I just turned 40 so stress is on the chopping block. I'm a pescatarian(non Pacific) now too. I just wanna be healthy and watch my daughter and newborn grow up; the rebel will teach them critical thinking!

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

So nice to hear your story IR. If I were to do it over again I'd do it your way. Unfortunately in Cali this is very difficult for young families even being extremely frugal. When we had our children in the early 90s we were determined to give them the childhood we both had. The schools in our area were atrocious so we had to go private. Because of the vastly increasing costs we faced and the determination not to go into debt, we both worked two jobs. Yes, we achieved what we wanted but at a great cost in more than money. I wished I could have been a stay at home mom and enjoyed the short time they were children. Looking back, instead of buying a house, we should have bought a trailer on a few arable acres. Instead of expensive Lutheran School ( 200k for 2 kids through 12th grade) we should have home schooled. If we had just thought a bit more creatively it could have been done. This is a great sadness and regret for me. I am heartened you aren't choosing my path and I wish you the best of fortunes.


Caveman93's picture

IR, you sound just like what I have went through in the last 5 years. Wife works, pregnant, no debt, plenty of savings. I too was working 60 hour weeks ...did this for a year and a half. Quit and went back to school and work part-time now. The same wage per hour when calculated. Expecting our first, I do the chores, clean, cook, pay bills and now we don't need to spend on a sitter...I'll be a stay at home father for a bit.


I occasionally have interviews on the telephone but it appears all these "hiring managers" seem to think they have the upper hand on every encounter I have with them. They make idol scary threats of "why should I hire you", "this job is demanding", yada yada. I have been working for over twenty years and am very marketable in many fields of "work". When they get snarky with me and pay comes up in discussion, I simply state you called me and if I am asking too much for my labor I apologize. The conversation is almost always followed up and closed simply by me stating to the hiring manager, "I wish you luck in your search". It blows their minds.